Naoya Inoue next fight: 'The Monster' set for April unification bout with Johnriel Casimero

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Unified bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue is ready to unleash the "Monster" on April 25 when he makes his Las Vegas and Top Rank debuts. 

Inoue (19-0, 16 KOs), a three-division champion from Japan and one of the sport's most devastating punchers, will defend his WBA and IBF titles at 118 pounds in a unification bout against WBO champion Johnriel Casimero (29-4, 20 KOs) at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. 

The bout is expected to be a slugfest considering the styles of both fighters. Inoue, fresh off singing a long-term promotional deal with Top Rank chairman Bob Arum, is also just months removed from winning the World Boxing Super Series tournament in a thriller with Nonito Donaire that garnered fight of the year honors. Inoue won by decision despite fighting with a broken orbital bone.

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"'The 'Monster' is coming to Las Vegas, and we couldn't be more excited," Arum said. "He is a generational talent, a fierce competitor who is ready to take the United States by storm. Casimero is a seasoned champion, and Inoue knows he's in for a firefight at Mandalay Bay." 

The 26-year-old Inoue is in the conversation for pound-for-pound best fighter in the world and wasted little time making history by winning his first world title in just his sixth pro bout in 2014 when he knocked out junior flyweight champion Adrian Hernandez. Two fights later, Inoue finished Omar Narvaez to claim a world title in his second division. 

"It is a tremendous honor and a dream come true to headline a card in Las Vegas against a great fighter like Casimero," Inoue said. "It is my goal to be the undisputed bantamweight king, and I am coming to America to put on a great fight for the fans."

Inoue, who is 14-0 with 12 KOs in title bouts, fought on U.S. soil just once before in 2017 when he stopped Antonio Nieves to defend a junior bantamweight title in Carson, California. He traveled outside of Japan for just the second time last May when he brutalized unbeaten Emmanuel Rodriguez to unify bantamweight titles in Glasgow, Scotland. 

The 31-year-old Casimero, a native of the Philippines, is 5-0 with five knockouts since a 2017 loss to Jonas Sultan. He knocked out Zolani Tete in November to claim his WBO title. 

"This is my dream fight. I have traveled the world and fought in 10 countries. I've won world titles at 108, 112 and 118 pounds," Casimero said. "But ever since I saw my hero and fellow countryman, Senator Manny Pacquiao, fight in Las Vegas, that has been my dream. To everyone who thinks I am the underdog on April 25, I will shock the world and show the fans who the real 'Monster' is in the ring."

The ESPN+ card will feature a co-main event pairing exciting bantamweights Joshua "Don't Blink" Greer and Jason Moloney. Former 130-pound champion Andrew Cancio will face Tyler McCreary in the opening featured bout. 

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Brian Campbell covers MMA, boxing and WWE. The Connecticut native joined CBS Sports in 2017 and has covered combat sports since 2010. He has written and hosted various podcasts and digital shows for ESPN... Full Bio

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